In the course of writing this book, I’ve given a lot of serious thought to the Big Question: what does it mean to be alive? If I were in Shizuko’s place, would I have the willpower to live as fully as she? Would I have the courage, or the persistence and determination? Could I hold someone’s hand with such warmth and strength? Would the love of others save me? I don’t know. To be honest, I’m not so sure.
- Haruki Murakami, Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche (1997–1998)